MG3 – in review

Share Our Knowledge With Your Friends, Contacts And Co-Workers

DSCF9724 300x225 MG3   in reviewWe finally got our hands on the MG3 some 4 months after it hit the market in China and 7 months after it was unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show. At the Guangzhou Auto Show we got our first taste of what the MG3 was all about, and we left unimpressed: the plastics were cheap, the seats were uncomfortable and the dashboard a let-down. What exactly happened between the launch and production happening is not entirely clear, the MG3 we drove was anything but a cheap small car, it’s a competent car and a possible rival to the Chinese built Ford Fiesta and other joint venture produced cars in the Chinese market – I’d even go as far as saying this is the first Chinese car I would buy with my own money.

Small cars are not really my cup of tea, for far too long they have been designed with the female consumer in mind and lack the raw power appeal that would bring a man into the driving seat, look at the current Nissan Micra (March) or the Toyota Yaris for good examples of cars that were built with the more feminine consumer in mind, only the Suzuki Swift has always been the gender neutral super mini but now the MG3 has arrived.

MG 3 1 300x199 MG3   in reviewThe MG3 is based on an entirely new platform with the heavy design and engineering work happening in the UK but the production happening in China, of course when the MG3 hits the market in Europe in the next 18 months (MG UK are predicting an end of 2012 launch for the 3 in the UK) it is highly likely to be a different specification to the Chinese markets offerings. The MG6 has been like marmite in the UK with consumers either loving or hating MG’s new bold corporate nose, the design has been controversial in the MG Owners Club and has split the ear hair brigade down the middle when it comes to answering the all important question: Is the MG6 a real MG? The6’s biggest drawback from fans and critics alike are its cheaper plastics and lack of proper grunt engine, we can safely say that this is not the case in the 1.5L MG3. It appears that MG have learned quickly from the MG6 and have introduced solid chunky plastics into the 3, power is not lacking either.

Our test car had 5 adults on board, two members of the MG sales team and three journalists, with the air conditioner working on full to battle the 38 degree Shanghai weather and Berlinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth (not our choice) blasting over the ample stereo we took to Shanghai’s elevated highways and crowded inner city streets to see what the 3 could do. Let’s just say the 1.5L engine producing 107bhp to the front wheels was more than capable of propelling us to 100kph and beyond, waving in and out of heavily congested traffic on the elevated expressways was not an issue either. Gear swapping was done by an AMT gearbox which mixes the ability to swap gears manually or throw the car into automatic mode for easy driving, no 0-100kph (0-62mph) times were quoted by the official brochure, but the MG representative present told us a time of roughly 11 seconds for the AMT but the manual is supposedly much faster. The gearbox is not exactly accurate and takes half a second to hit the next gear but it does the job and keeps costs down, but the exhaust note is the big surprise here – who would have thought an economy micro car would let out a decent sound? The interior has some interesting design traits that we haven’t seen elsewhere in MG’s and Roewe’s, the control buttons on the steering wheel are certainly iPod inspired, and the shock of white on the door handles, hand brake and also the stereo break up the monotony of the design.  The seats are made from a strong material and are on par with what you find in the Skoda Fabia or VW Polo, oddly there is no leather option yet.

DSCF9730 300x225 MG3   in reviewStorage room seems to be an issue with the trunk only carrying 256 litres of space and only two cup holders up at the front. The dash plastics are very solid and on par with the Skoda Fabia, the roof on this model did of course come with the Union Jack to give the MG3 some added personality, something that the Skoda and VW alternatives are lacking in. The centre console had gained a very clear GPS unit which was an extra option for this model and does not come as standard, there was also a Bluetooth unit for those that want to talk on the go without breaking any laws, parking sensors are also fitted to the rear as standard for those that cant park a small car.

From driving the MG3, even though it was for a relatively short time, it was clear that the designers had gone out of their way to create something is not just a commercial product created with the sole goal of filling a segment. Obviously a fair amount of blood sweat and tears have gone into developing the MG3 to make it into a competitive product, and this is what separates it from the competition who are just bringing out new generations of their older models to satisfy a segment. MG fans will never be a unified bunch when it comes to deciding if they like the bold new MG styling, but they will no doubt enjoy seeing the company grow back its diminished reputation with a new younger fan base.

The interview was carried out in partnership with well renowned China automotive journalist Mark Andrews. 

About the author  ⁄ Ash

Ash came to China at 18 and never looked back, a decade later he is still here. After a 4 year stint in a Chinese University where he gained a double BA in Chinese and International Trade he worked for a myriad of different companies in the Chinese Auto industry before heading back to school to get an MBA with a focus in marketing.

6 Comments

  • Head Honcho
    July 29, 2011

    You got the review up quick. Do you still have the car or was it a day test?

  • CCT
    July 29, 2011

    Test day. Aveo review is going up next week.

  • Gong
    July 30, 2011

    The running car photo is great! I try many times but success little at Shanghai F1 Circuit. I am learning how to write test report from this article.

  • Head Honcho
    July 31, 2011

    How about the new Suzuki Swift. Can you get an early review of that too?

  • CCT
    August 1, 2011

    Will try…

  • Pamela
    April 24, 2012

    One day ” the rest ” will discover styling sells. Look at Hyundai. This is just another ” me too “. If it wasn’t for the badge you would never know it is an MG. Oh, I forgot about the Union Jack! Great writing Mr. Ash.

Leave a Comment

See News by Industry
Industry News China Green Auto News Spy Shots China Auto Culture
See News By Brand
Acura China Acura China Aston Martin China Aston Martin Audi China,FAW-Audi Audi China
Baojun Auto Baojun Beijing Auto Beijing Auto Group Beijing Auto Beijing Auto
Besturn Auto, FAW Besturn Besturn BMW China BMW China Brilliance Auto Brilliance Auto
Buick China Buick China Baojun Auto BYD Baojun Auto Cadillac
Changa,Chang'an Chang'an - Chana Changfeng Changfeng Changhe Auto Changhe
Chery Auto Chery Chevrolet China Chevrolet Chevrolet China Chrysler
Citroen China Citroen Dodge China Dodge Dodge China Citroen DS
Dongfeng Auto Dongfeng Geely Emgrand Emgrand Geely Emgrand Englon
FAW,First Automobile Works FAW Ferrari China Ferrari Fiat China Fiat
Foday Auto Foday Ford China,Changan-Ford Ford Guangzhou Auto Guangzhou Auto
Geely Auto Geely Geely Auto Gleagle GoNow Auto GoNow
Great Wall Great Wall Hafei Auto Hafei Haima Haima
Hawtai Hawtai Honda Honda Huanghai Yellow Sea Auto Huanghai (Yellow Sea)
Hyundai China Hyundai Infiniti China Infiniti JAC China JAC
Jaguar Jaguar Jinbei Jinbei JMC JMC
Kia Kia     Jaguar Land Rover
Landwind Landwind Lexus China Lexus Lifan Auto Lifan
Lincoln Lincoln Youngman Lotus Youngman Lotus Luxgen Luxgen
Mazda Mazda Mercedes China Mercedes MG - Morris Garages MG
MINI China MINI Mitsubishi China Mitsubishi Nissan China Nissan
Opel China Opel Opel China Peugeot Reely China Reely
Renault Riich Riich Riich Roewe
Rolls-Royce China Rolls-Royce SEAT SEAT Senova Senova/ShenBao
Double Ring Double Ring - Shuang Huan Sichuan Yema Sichuan Yema Skoda Skoda
Double Ring Smart Subaru Subaru Suzuki Suzuki
Toyota Toyota Volvo Volvo Volkswagen Volkswagen
Zotye Zotye   Others    
Close
Sign up today to receive China Car Times weekly newsletter!
Your name
Your email